The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of The Shrew

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 11th gradeA, December 1996

download word file, 8 pages 3.9

Shakespeare uses similar comic elements to effect

similar outcomes in his works. Many of his plays

utilize trickery and disguise to accomplish similar


Trickery plays a major role in The Merchant of

Venice and drives most of the action, while mistaken

identity, specifically Portia's disguise as the

'learned attorney's' representative, plays a major

role in the resolution of the play. The first

instance of trickery in the play is Bassanio's plan to

present himself as a financially sound suitor, when in

truth, he is not.

Bassanio believes that he would stand a very good

chance of being the successful suitor if he had the

proper money backing him. Bassanio then goes to his

friend Antonio to try to secure a loan to provide for

his wooing.

O my Antonio, had I but the means/To hold a rival

place with one of them [other suitors]/I have a

mind presages me such thrift/That I should

questionless be fortunate!' (Shakespeare,

Merchant 1.1


However, Antonio has, 'neither the money, nor

commodity/to raise a present sum' but urges Bassanio

to go through Venice to try to secure a loan using

Antonio's bond as credit (Shakespeare, Merchant 1.1


One of the resident money-lenders of Venice is an

individual called Shylock, a person of Jewish descent.

The practice of usury was traditionally banned by the

Christian church. This allowed many Jews, because

their belief system contained no objection to

profitable money-lending, to become the de facto loan

officers. Bassanio approaches Shylock to ask for a

loan, and Shylock seems as if he is going to agree,

however, he first asks to speak with Antonio. It is

revealed in an aside that Shylock harbors a secret

hatred of Antonio because of his religion and

Shylock's belief that Antonio's practices drive down

the interest...